Do you know anyone who has already had the flu this year? According to the latest numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), there’s a pretty good chance that you you do. That’s because this year’s numbers are way above last year’s and far higher than we typically see.
New figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services show there already have been 1,143 cases so far this season. That’s compared with 157 at the same time last year.
And that 2016 figure was not an aberration. The average to this date for the five seasons before this one is just 142.
What makes this number so potentially alarming is the timing: The number of new cases reported each week does not normally peak until February.
According to Tucson.com, “Jessica Rigler, the agency’s bureau chief for public health preparedness, said she’s not prepared to say at this point that the pattern being set — 385 new cases this past week alone versus 43 the same week last year — will lead to some new record in the number of people who get infected. “Flu is really difficult to predict,” she said. “It behaves differently every single season.”
However, it’s hard to ignore how hard our state is getting hit so far this flu season. AzCentral.com put together a short video on Arizona’s rising number of flu cases. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.
If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, or don’t think you need to get one…..the Payson Roundup quoted Jessia Rigler of the ADHS as saying it’s the best defense against the flu.
“Even though we’re seeing an increase in cases right now, this might not be the end,” she said. “That’s especially important right now as we enter the holiday season because people are spending more time with loved ones, including those that are very vulnerable to the complications from flu, like the elderly or infants.”
Still, she acknowledged, the protection is not immediate. Rigler said it takes about two weeks for the body to react to the killed virus in the vaccine to build up an immunity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed several tips to help stop the spread of the virus.
- Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. …
- Stay home when you are sick. …
- Cover your mouth and nose. …
- Clean your hands. …
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. …
- Practice other good health habits.
Let us know how the flu is affecting people in your neighborhood…and whether you have gotten or intend to get a flu shot this year. Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!